If you need to start at the beginning of the story click here Part 1
Sometimes I wonder why I recall all of these events. We went through this stuff, and I don’t think it happened for a reason, or because God wanted us to learn something. I think in life things just happen. It’s the world we live in, where we can only control so much. I certainly am lucky to have my children and my husband, but as I tell our story I realize with a heavy heart, that people have been through worse experiences than ours in their life, and had to come to terms with it. The reality is that things that happen in your life will change you in some way I believe. Whether it’s just on the inside and how you deal with everything in your mind or on the outside and what you do.
I was in a different zone when all these things were going on. I think I was scared and fighting at the same time. I guess sometimes a person can just roll with the changes but when I look back at the toughest times, I was angry, sad, scared, worried, stressed. I was jumpy and shaky, but on the inside I was digging my heels in big time. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy from the start, so I watched it happen and held on to John as he was holding on to the hope of living for a long time. I was so busy absorbing what John must be going through that there was nothing that was going to keep me from staying by his side. Seeing someone I love suffer is the hardest thing I ever went through.
We headed home from the hospital the next day with a pump for John’s liquid diet he would receive through his stomach tube. It was 10:00 P.M. and I hooked the pump up and wound the tube through it and out to John’s stomach and then it wouldn’t work. I checked and rechecked and ended up calling the medical supply company for help. It was close to two hours until someone showed up with a pump that worked. I was a wreck because the nurse had stressed the minute he gets home he needs to be hooked up and on those grounds only, would they let him come home. John was weak and nauseous, a weird color, and skin and bone. I was afraid the worst would happen. I didn’t know it then, but he would have had time before anything bad would happen. It all was so new to me.
John was starting to look gaunt and sickly. When I looked at him outside his skin showed a greenish cast and the lines on his face were deeper from all the weight loss. His cousin’s husband looked green like that a few days before he died. That was not a comforting thought.
John finished the chemo and radiation. During the previous 3 months John’s Sister’s church cancer ministry that reached out to us. The girl in charge of the group of people that helped us started the group after her Dad passed. He lived in another state, and she couldn’t be there to help him all the time, but there was a church that helped him, in the same way she helped us.
They cleaned, prepared meals, gave me gifts, and they cleaned up my yard. I continued working 40 hour weeks because I had the bills to pay. She continued to contact me, and we walked her dog together. She was going to be a good friend but when I started saying no to walking the dog with her, I think she may have realized I was just too tired. I didn’t hear from her after that. She was on to the next family that needed help I’m sure. I just had no desire to do anything after work and keeping house, I was emotionally exhausted and wanted to be with John as much as possible. I think she knew.
It was 2 weeks after John’s last chemo and radiation treatment, time for John’s surgery on his aneurysm. My youngest daughter accompanied me in the waiting room. It was a 4-hour surgery and after 2 hours the surgeon came down to the waiting area and said they were only getting started now. It had taken them that long to get the breathing tube down his throat because of the swelling and changes in his throat from previous surgery and radiation. He asked me how I was doing and said not to worry, it was serious surgery, but he was confident everything would be okay.
Finally, a little over 3 hours later the surgeon came to us and told us the surgery went well. Of course, we were relieved, and after waiting another hour we were allowed to see him. The halls in the hospital seemed endless, like a maze. I thought how I would get lost without the signs but then I realized I was actually getting to know the place quite well. It was my source of hope at the time.
We found his room and saw him lying there, hooked up to God only knows what, tubes everywhere, and he was asking for more pain medicine. My daughter was crying. Why wasn’t I crying?… It was an hour at least til they gave him Dilaudid, a pain medicine stronger than morphine. He could push the button when he needed more with limits of course. He seemed to push it every minute. Afterall, he had an incision a few inches above his navel continuing 8 inches below. It was stapled with what looked like the staples you would use to staple 50 or more sheets of paper together. I realized his insides had to have been moved in order for them to get to his aorta. My stomach clenched uncomfortably with anxiety, but it was a feeling I had gotten acquainted with quite often.
I spent the 1st night in the hospital with John, and after five days John came home. He did incredibly well, by this time he was eating soft foods like mashed potatoes with lots of gravy and smoothies and milkshakes.
However, I was experiencing major headaches and found it hard to concentrate on anything. It was like everything that had happened settled in my brain and the moment of time and hope I was in, also opened my eyes to the reality of all that happened and my strength was diminished. I called work and asked for the week off. I told them I couldn’t come in so it would have to be FMLA leave. I didn’t care if I got paid or not.
Is there anyone who can relate to the cloudiness and numbness that comes with this stress?
Have you ever fought through a tough time and then suddenly your guard is down and you feel the weight of every thing that’s happened after it’s over?
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